Ernest John Wood was born on 16th June 1898 in Colter, Manitoba, Canada.
The 1901 census for Canada on Ancestry.co.uk shows that the Wood family were living in the district of Brandon , Manitoba. Head of the household, George Wood age 56 born in Ontario in 1845 was a Farmer by trade of English descent. He married his wife Margaret in October 1878. Margaret age 44 born in Scotland in 1856 emigrated to Canada in 1874. They had a large family consisting of Robert E., age 21, James A. age 20, Mildred age 18, George Herman, age 16, Maggie L. age 15, Hannah M. age 14, Mary B. age 12, Stella J. age 9, Susannah J. age 7, John E. and age 1 and Rex Almer under 12 months of age. There aren’t any trades shown for the older children who possibly helped on the farm.
Ten years on the 1911 census reveals that the Wood family were living in the district of Assiniboia, Saskatchewan. Head, George Wood age 65 was still farming and it appears that some of the children had left home. Wife Margaret age 55 now had seven children at home, Robert age 31, James age 30, George Herman age 27, Mildred age 23, Stella age 20, Ernest J age 11 and Rex age 10.
Ernest’s mother, Margaret died on 24th January 1913.
The 1916 census for Canada shows that the Wood family were still living in Assiniboia, Saskatchewan and the family consisted of, George Woods age 70, (Widower), James A. age 35, George H. age 33, Mary age 26, Stella age 24, Susan B. age 22, John E age 17 and Rex Almer age 14. All the male members of the family worked on the farm.
Attestation Papers for Private 2188525, Ernest John Wood from the Library of Canada.
Ernest John Wood enlisted into the Canadian Over-Seas Expeditionery Force as part of the Forestry Company on 26th February 1917 at Regina. He gave his father George Woods of Benson Saskatchewan as next of kin and trade as Gas Engineer, his address at that time was the family home. He was of single status and described on his medical form as having a medium complexion, brown eyes and dark hair.
Unfortunately I cannot access Ernest’s full service record as it has not yet been digitized by the Library of Canada.
He would have done basic training in Canada and then embarked for UK being posted on arrival to an Army Camp to complete his training before being deployed.
I will add these details when I can access the postings details on Ernest’s service record.
We know that when hostilities ceased, Canadian personnel were sent to segregation camps in order to prepare for repatriation. Ernest was posted to Kinmel Camp in Rhyl where the conditions at that time were extremely harsh with a lack of every kind of commodity. The camp was overcrowded and the services were poor, there were shortages of clothing, food and blankets. As a result of this situation, a vast number of servicemen and women became ill and many succumbed to the Influenza Epidemic or complications associated with this infection.
Unfortunately Ernest John Wood contracted Influenza with the complication of Bronchial Pneumonia and was admitted to the Canadian General Hospital where his condition deteriorated and he died on 8th January 1919.
Ernest John Wood is buried in St. Margaret’s Cemetery, Bodelwyddan, his brother paid for his grave marker.
He is commemorated on the Canadian Virtual War Memorial.